Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Genealogy, how far can you go back?

As I grow older I try to remember the stories my father told me as I was growing up. My father was 52 when I was born so we were very far apart when it came to music, culture and the very basics that made up our life experience. My father was born in 1915, one of six children born in Amador county. He rode a horse to school, literally. Being the oldest son, he milked 40 cows by hand before and after school. His father died when he was 20 and he worked the family farm in the middle of the depression. I would not characterize my father's youth as a care free adolescence.

When my son asks me why I don't talk about how bad it was in the 'old days' when I was kid, I tell him that after I listened to his grandfather's stories, what ever chores or work I did around our ranch would seem like a summer vacation compared to father's childhood.

When my father died I lost my link to his family, he did not get along with many of his siblings and all the stories I had of my grandfather and grandmother were just memories. I had tried to research my family history on the internet and found when you have a common name, the amount of data you have to sift through is rather daunting.

Last year I found my grandparent's grave site in Lockeford California after asking my mother if she remembered where they were buried. I found dates of birth and full names so I could narrow my search. I hit another dead end after hours of goggling and searching through message boards, I became frustrated and stopped looking.

Last week I was cleaning my files in the office and I found the piece of paper I had written my grandparents information on. I started looking for my father's family again. I found a link to my great grandfather, Christopher Columbus Lucas, I never knew his real name but I remember my father telling me about Christopher Columbus Kit Carson Lucas, so I knew that had to be him. If you do any genealogy research you will soon find many of the links take you to subscription research sites. After trying to get around these sites I finally gave in to the corporate giant of the genealogy world, Ancestory.com and joined for a month to try it out. They are the 'Google' of genealogy because they have a lot of data and a lot of members in a format that makes it easy to search.

In a few hours I was able to track my father's family back to my great, great, great, great, great grandfather, Ignatius Lucas born in Prince George County, Maryland. How far back was he? He was 45 years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

He was born a subject of King George II in 1731, he would become an American after the defeat of George III in the revolutionary war. Pretty cool.

I am now putting together my mothers side to see where that takes me.

No comments: